Philadelphia weddings: Olivia Peters and Tim Scott

Olivia Peters and Tim Scott

March 4, 2018, in Blue Bell

Camera icon Andy Albaladejo of Broad Street Photo
Olivia Peters and Tim Scott

Hello there

Driving home from work one day in 2006, Olivia saw a puzzling sight: Tim, her McKinley Schools special-education colleague, stood in the middle of a traffic circle, rush-hour whooshing around him. She waved. He waved. The next day, she asked him why he had been there.

The circle was the spot where Tim’s ride dropped him off, he said.  He dodged the cars, then walked the rest of the way to his  neighborhood in Cambridge, Mass. Olivia drove through his neighborhood every day, she told him.  That was the last time Tim stood in the traffic circle, and the beginning of their friendship.

Tim grew up in Central Square, N.Y. Olivia’s family moved to Doylestown shortly after she graduated from high school in Aurora, Ohio. The two bonded over their shared commitment to kids with special needs and soon realized they enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. Sometimes, Tim would stay in the car after they reached his place, just so they could talk more. Each felt a potential for more than friendship, and they briefly tried dating, but bad timing led to failure. Both had recently emerged from long-term relationships. Tim had been married.

In 2009, Tim moved to Mercer County, N.J. In time, he began dating other people, and so did Olivia.

“We never forgot about each other,” she said. Big reminders came in the summers of 2011 and 2012,  when both worked at a therapeutic summer program in New Hampshire for kids with disabilities. Each summer, they spent time together, but when camp ended, they returned to their separate states and lives, occasionally communicating through email and text.

Then in 2014, Tim called Olivia.  He wanted to come back to Boston, and he wanted to reconnect with her. “I was looking for a change,” he said, “And I had a lot of faith in what we had in the past.”  Olivia agreed. “Our connection was too strong to not try it,” she said.

Before their date at East Coast Grill in Cambridge, Olivia was incredibly nervous. “It was really nice to see him again, for sure, but it was really stressful, too. We had all of this history.”

“It felt a little surreal,” Tim said.

The couple found their connection remained strong, and this time, both were ready for it.  Love came quickly.

“He’s very sensitive and caring, and he puts a lot of thought into everything he does,” Olivia said. “He’s amazing at his job — he cares so much about the kids. We could talk for hours, and we have this chemistry.”

“She has a really positive vibe, is very excited about life, about the people she cares about, the things she cares about,” Tim said. “She wants to try new things, experience new things.”

Tim, who is now 41, is a special-education instructional coach at the Christa McAuliffe Charter School in Framingham, Mass. Olivia, now 35, is a special education teacher at the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain in Boston.

Camera icon Andy Albaladejo of Broad Street Photo,
Olivia Peters and Tim Scott say their vows.

How does forever sound?

In August 2016, the couple bought a house in West Roxbury for themselves and Wesley, their spaniel mix. From the time they got serious, Olivia and Tim agreed their partnership did not need to be a marriage — unless they decided to have kids. In summer 2017, they made that decision.

In late January, the couple learned a baby was coming. Olivia’s family was gathering in Pennsylvania in early March to celebrate the baby her brother and sister-in-law are expecting. She and Tim invited those same people,  plus Tim’s family and friends, to celebrate their engagement at the Blue Bell Inn the following day.

The night before, the couple had to call their 30 guests with a change of venue — the inn had lost power but would host the event at the Country House at Bluestone.  As guests arrived, they got a bigger surprise. The couple stood next to a sign that said, “Welcome to Tim and Olivia’s surprise wedding! Yep, now!”

Camera icon Andy Albaladejo of Broad Street Photo,
The cake, with the word “engagement” crossed out.

It was so them

To encourage attendance, the couple told their guests they were eloping in Vermont, so the Sunday brunch would be the only time to celebrate together. The surprise element not only made their wedding extra fun, it made it less stressful for everyone, Olivia said. “No one felt like they had to help us plan or worry about anything,” she said.

The wedding sign allowed Olivia and Tim to share in every guest’s private surprise. One of Olivia’s favorite moments of the day was watching her parents, who now live in Huntingdon Valley, realize this was their daughter’s wedding day. “They were so happy,” she said.

Officiant Colleen McDermott of Marry Me Philadelphia  gathered everyone around Tim and Olivia and led them through a  ceremony and vows package that the couple loved for its content and because choosing something Colleen had already created was in keeping with their low-stress theme. It was beautiful and blessedly short, they said.

Then came a buffet-style brunch, with small plates and stand-up tables designed to keep people moving and mingling. That was especially important as it was the first time many of his family and friends and her family and friends had met.

The bride’s cousin Angie, who assisted with much of the planning, suggested using succulents rather than cut flowers, because their beauty was hardy enough to stay secret in the trunk of her car all weekend.  The couple requested a wedding cake piped with blue, green, and gray succulents and the phrase: “Happy Engagement Wedding!”

Camera icon Andy Albaladejo of Broad Street Photo,
Guests Ayesha Hurry and Alissa Ferro react to the surprise wedding.

Awestruck

Tim will never forget when his family and friends and her family and friends came in from the venue’s various rooms and gathered  for the ceremony. “To get all of those people together was pretty powerful,” he said. “To think about them being there for this wedding and ceremony, and that we were going to announce that we were pregnant … there was a lot going on in my brain.”

That announcement was the couple’s third big surprise for their guests.  Tim and Olivia stepped up on a landing so they could see everyone. “Thank you for coming,” Tim said. “We couldn’t imagine doing this without you guys.”  Then Olivia held up her glass for a toast.  “I want to let everyone know that this is sparkling apple cider.”

Everyone cheered. “You have to say it!” someone urged.

“We are pregnant,”  Olivia said.

Their wedding meant so much more to Olivia than she expected. “It did feel like the beginning of the next stage of our lives, and you can see the path laid out from now on,” she said. “We had sort of a murky beginning, and this felt like clarity.”

The budget crunch

A bargain: Cousin Angie, who owns an event-planning business, put everything together with the help of the venue’s event planner in less than one month as a gift to the couple. Their photographer, whom the couple hired as part of the Marry Me Philadelphia package, “was incredibly reasonably priced, and amazing,” Olivia said.

The splurge: Choosing a venue to save time and stress, rather than money. “We wanted a full-service venue to take care of the cake, the alcohol, the seating — everything,” Olivia said.

Honeymooning

A week and a half in Tokyo and the Philippines.

Behind the scenes

Officiant: Colleen McDermott, Marry Me Philadelphia.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Country House at Bluestone, Blue Bell.

Food & Venue Coordination: Blue Bell Inn, Blue Bell.

Photography: Andy Albaladejo of Broad Street Photo, Philadelphia.

Flowers: Angela O’Brien, Modern Mark, Gaithersburg, Md.

Dress: Jay Godfrey, Rent the Runway.

Hair/Makeup: Hayley of Cheekadee Makeup Artists, Philadelphia.

Planner: Angela O’Brien of Modern Mark.